Renovation & Design

Popping sounds and odour likely mean microwave is toast

Question: I am hoping that you might have a solution for getting rid of burnt popcorn smell in a microwave. I have tried lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda, and even microwaving meat with a barbeque sauce. If I leave lemon juice and water in it with the door open, it almost disappears. But as soon as I microwave even lemon juice in water, the smoke smell predominates. This smell came while heating up a “bed buddy” which contains grain for use on my sore joints. I have used this item for years heating as the directions say in the microwave on high for three minutes, with never any problem. I am not sure what happened this time, but I heard a pop, and when I got to the microwave, smoke and a terrible smell was coming from the oven. — Kelly

Answer: In order to offer the safest advice available to us, I turned to a microwave manufacturer. I want to share a quote that I took from the General Electric website: “The popping noise is electrical or mechanical in sound, and GE recommends contacting service. If the arcing burned a hole through the cavity wall, the damage is non-repairable. You can continue to safely use the microwave if the hole is equal to or smaller than the hole size that you see on the door screen and additional arcing is not occurring during the cooking cycle. If the hole is larger than this, it is recommended that the microwave be replaced.” Sounds like the smell is coming from the microwave mechanics which is why the odour returns even after the box of the microwave is treated, safety is definitely an issue.

Question: I have an old silver bracelet. It is very tarnished, almost completely black. Is there a way that I can clean it without taking it to a jeweller? Ravneet

Answer: The following tip is unbelievably easy, quick, amazingly effective, and cheap. Line the inside of any small container with crumpled aluminum foil. Pour fairly hot water into the container and sprinkle a generous amount of salt. Place the necklace in the water, on the foil, and within seconds the silver will return to its original shiny colour.

Question: Over the Christmas holiday, my grandchildren drew me a beautiful picture of my garden. The problem is that they used crayon and drew the picture on the wall! Any suggestions for cleaning away the art? Helga

Answer: If you are sure that you want to erase the masterpiece, use baking soda and a dampened, abrasive scrubby green pad, to wash away the flowered creation.

Amazing tips from Alma

When baking cinnamon rolls, use a tin foil pan. Grease the bottom generously with margarine or butter followed by a good sprinkling of brown sugar and cinnamon. Remove from oven when baked and invert immediately. The tin foil pan keeps the sugar from scorching, which so often happens with cinnamon rolls.

If you don’t have a dishwasher, put the lids back on pots and pans immediately after emptying the contents. Residue will not dry on, making cleanup easier.

If you have a freezer running part way empty, freeze water in clean plastic jugs to fill up the space. Once frozen, they require very little hydro and should the power go off, they act as an icebox to keep things frozen. Also, they’re a source of water should there be a disruption in the plumbing.

Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

If you have a great suggestion or tip please send an email. Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website:


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